The 10 Chrome Flags to Speed Up your Browsing

Robert_Stark
edited January 18 in PC Tech

Knowing how to set Chrome flags will unlock many hidden features and customizations for your browser.

From dark mode to faster downloads to screenshots to privacy improvements, we outline what Chrome Flags are, how to install them, and the top 10 that will boost your productivity and efficiency.

With Chrome Flags, you gain access to experimental features vetted by the Chrome team. You don't have to be super technical to use them; they're simple to turn off if Chrome has issues.

What are Chrome Flags? 

Google constantly tests new ChromeOS or Chrome browser features through Chrome Flags. Chrome Flags are experimental features that may become part of a future Chrome release.

Ordinarily, these features are hidden away and aren't accessible. However, with some tinkering, you can access these hidden experimental features.

Enabling a Flag requires restarting your browser for the change to take effect. Some Flags are available to specific operating systems (OS) via the Chrome Browser.

How do you access Chrome Flags? 

Gaining access to Chrome flags is simple. On a Chromebook, PC, Mac, Android, or iOS device:

  1. Open your Chrome browser and type in the address bar: chrome://flags/  
  2. Hit Enter. You'll now be on the main Chrome Flag page, where you can scroll through the list of Flags available on your OS. 
  3. To find a Flag you want to try, enter the keywords in the search box at the top of the page. 
  4. Every Chrome Flag also has a tag that's listed just below the Flag's description. You can also find a specific Flag by typing: chrome://flags/#tagname (Replace #tagnname with the specific Chrome Flag tag). This URL will take you directly to the particular Flag you want. 
  5. Usually, enabling a flag requires changing the drop-down menu on the right of the description from Default to Enabled
  6. Click the Relaunch button at the bottom-right of the screen to apply the changes. 

Is using Chrome Flags safe? 

Chrome flags allow pilot testing of new features before an official rollout. Before you go ahead and use Chrome Flags, there are a few caveats:

  • Proceed with caution. Flags aren't always stable and might cause unintended behavior or crash Chrome. Because they're experimental, they lack extensive testing to make it into the public version of Chrome. 
  • Browser-based Flags are also not tested for online security protocols, which means there could be risks when conducting online financial transactions. To be security conscious, use a different browser when doing your banking. 
  • It's simple to reset all your flags if they cause problems. Select Reset all to default at the top of the Flags page to enable the default Chrome experience. 

10 best Chrome Flags you could enable 

Speed Up Chrome, browse faster, and improve your workflow with these top 10 Chrome Flags.

1) Download faster with Parallel Downloading: #enable-parallel-downloading 

Parallel downloading accelerates the download speed of large files. This download booster breaks downloads into three smaller files, then combines them into a single file when the downloads are complete. 

To Enable Parallel Downloading: 

  1. Paste this URL into Chrome's Address Bar: chrome://flags/#enable-parallel-downloading and press Enter OR input Parallel Downloading in the Chrome flag search box. 
  2. Select Enabled from the drop-down menu next to the Flag. 
  3. Tap Relaunch in the bottom-right corner to restart Google Chrome.

OS Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS, Android 

2) Simplify webpages by Enabling Reader Mode: #enable-reader-mode 

Google Chrome's reader mode declutters pages by removing the following:

  • Ads 
  • Menus 
  • Navigation 
  • Sidebars 
  • Videos

All that remains is the page's main content. Enabling Reader Mode helps you focus on the main article by simplifying the page and eliminating distractions. It will also save paper if you need to print a page.

To Enable Reader Mode: 

  1. Paste this URL into Chrome's Address Bar: chrome://flags#enable-reader-mode and press Enter. OR Type Enable Reader Mode within the flag search box. 
  2. Choose Enabled from the drop-down menu on the right side. 
  3. Press Relaunch to restart Chrome. 
  4. Click the Enter reader mode button on the right of Chrome's address bar.

OS Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS, Android

3) Save time with Show Autofill Predictions: #show-autofill-type-predictions 

The Show Autofill Predictions flag fills out form fields with your details without you needing to type anything. When you encounter a signup form, Chrome automatically fills it in and saves you from typing your:

  • Name 
  • Email  
  • ZIP code 
  • & More

Save time and increase your accuracy with this handy Chrome flag.

To Enable Show Autofill Predictions: 

  1. Paste this URL into Chrome's URL Bar: chrome://flags/#show-autofill-type-predictions and press Enter. OR Type Show autofill predictions within the flag search box. 
  2. Choose Enabled on the drop-down menu. 
  3. Press Relaunch in the bottom-right corner.

OS Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS, Android 

4) Experience smooth page scrolling: #smooth-scrolling 

Animate webpages to scroll smoothly and seamlessly when navigating webpages. Rather than a drastic jump when hitting the Page Down key, the page will scroll smoothly. Eliminate jerky or stuttering movements when scrolling with this Flag enabled.

How to enable the Smooth Scrolling Chrome Flag:

  1. Paste this URL into Chrome's URL Bar: chrome://flags/#smooth-scrolling and press Enter. OR In Chrome flags, search for Smooth scrolling within the flag search box. 
  2. Click the button next to smooth scrolling, then choose Enabled
  3. Hit Relaunch in the bottom-right corner.

OS Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS, Android 

5) Browse the internet faster with the Back-forward cache: #back-forward-cache 

Chrome creates a cache that stores previously-visited pages, allowing instant loads when revisiting them using your browser's back and forward keys. If you navigate to another webpage and want to go back, the previous page will load instantly. This feature improves your internet browsing speed, especially on slower connections, because you won't have to reload pages each time.

How to enable the Back-forward cache flag: 

  1. Paste this URL into Chrome's address Bar: chrome://flags/#back-forward-cache and hit Enter. OR Chrome flags, search for Back-forward cache in the Chrome flag search box. 
  2. Click the button next to Back-forward cache, then choose Enabled
  3. Click the Relaunch button at the bottom-right of the screen.

OS Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS, Android 

6) Quickly navigate to your previous search results with a side search panel: #side-search 

The side search panel flag could be the ticket if you're looking for quick access to your most recent Google search. Rather than opening a new tab for each page to visit or returning to the Google search page, you'll be able to click a new G button for the results to appear in a side panel.

How to enable the side search flag: 

  1. Paste this URL into Chrome's address bar: chrome://flags/#side-search and hit Enter. Or visit Chrome flags by entering chrome://flags in your address bar. Then type Side search in the search box. 
  2. Tap Enabled in the button next to Side search
  3. Tap Relaunch at the bottom-right of the screen. 
  4. A G button appears before the address bar. Tap this to display the results. 
  5. You can also enable the Side search DSE support flag if your default search engine isn't Google.

OS Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS

7) Capture and edit screenshots easily in Chrome: #sharing-desktop-screenshots and #sharing-desktop-screenshots-edit 

Chrome has a handy built-in screenshot tool that lets you take webpage screenshots and edit them without installing third-party extensions. It appears as a part of the address bar's Share menu. The screenshot editor has all the essential tools you'd expect, including:

  • Crop 
  • Adding text 
  • Drawing Tools 
  • Shapes: circle, arrows, lines 
  • Emojis

The screenshot is copied to your clipboard automatically, so you can immediately paste it anywhere you'd like.

How to enable the capture and edit screenshots flags: 

  1. Visit Chrome flags by typing chrome://flags in your address bar and pressing Enter
  2. Search for Desktop Screenshots in the search input box. 
  3. Install Desktop Screenshots to take screenshots. Also, install Desktop Screenshots Edit Mode to allow image editing. 
  4. Tap Relaunch at the bottom-right of the screen. 
  5. Click on the Share icon on the address bar's right side. 
  6. Choose Screenshot from the menu and drag a selection to take a photo. Chrome automatically copies the screenshot to your clipboard. 
  7. Click the Edit button in preview mode to access the screenshot editor tool. 
  8. Click the Export Image button to save the edited image

OS Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS 

8) See quick previews of open tabs: #tab-hover-card-images 

Love having a large number of Chrome tabs open? Hover Cards are a new way to identify webpages and navigate through tabs easily. If you enable the Tab Hover Card Images Flag, navigating between tabs will suddenly become much more accessible. When you hover over the tabs - you'll see the webpage title and a thumbnail image of the content. It's perfect for seamless navigation.

How to enable the Tab Hover Card Images

  1. Copy and paste chrome://flags/#tab-hover-cards into Chrome's address bar, and press Enter. Or enter chrome://flags in your address bar to visit Chrome flags. Then type Tab Hover Card Images in the search box. 
  2. Choose Enabled or Enabled Alternative. 
  3. Tap Relaunch at the bottom-right of the screen to enable.

OS Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS

9) Force all websites to display in dark mode: #enable-force-dark  

Enable dark mode on every site you visit. Dark mode or dark theme helps you save battery life, read easier in low light, and may reduce eye strain and dry eye. Dark mode reduces blue light exposure, which helps reduce digital eye strain from extended screen time.

By default, Chrome follows your operating system's color mode settings. If the Windows dark theme is selected, Chrome will set sites to dark mode. All websites will use a dark theme if the Auto Dark Mode for Web Contents flag is enabled.

How to enable the Auto Dark Mode: 

  1. Paste this into Chrome's address bar: chrome://flags/#enable-force-dark and hit Enter. Or visit Chrome flags by entering chrome://flags in your address bar. Then type Dark Mode in the search box. 
  2. Choose Enabled on the drop-down menu. 
  3. Select Relaunch at the bottom right of your screen.

OS Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS

10) Minimize your digital footprint: #reduce-user-agent 

The Reduce User-Agent (UA) Flag minimizes your digital footprint by sharing less personal information with websites. A UA string is a list of text browsers send to websites when they begin a connection. The UA string contains details about your browser and operating system. Online advertisers use UA strings to track and fingerprint website visitors

How to enable the Reduce User-Agent request header: 

  1. Copy and paste chrome://flags/#reduce-user-agent into Chrome's address bar, and press Enter. Or enter chrome://flags in your address bar to visit Chrome flags. Then type Reduce User-Agent request header in the search box. 
  2. Choose Enabled 
  3. Tap Relaunch at the bottom-right of the screen. 

OS Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS, Android

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I enable Chrome Flags on Android? 

You can access the Chrome Flags page on Android by:

  1. Enter chrome://flags in the Chrome address bar. 
  2. Search for the required flags in the search box by typing the Flag's name 
  3. Choose Enable to turn on from the Default drop-down menu. 
  4. Tap the Relaunch button to restart Chrome, and the Flag will be enabled or disabled, depending on your choice.

How do you disable specific Chrome Flags? 

If you enable a Flag that causes issues on your browser, you can reset it to the default option or disable it. If you want to disable individual Flags, do this via the drop-down menu on the main page.

  1. Enter chrome://flags/ into Chrome's address bar. 
  2. Type the keywords or tag to find it. You can also find a specific Flag by typing: chrome://flags/#tagname. 
  3. To disable flags, select the drop-down menu on the right and choose Disabled or Default
  4. Hit Relaunch at the bottom-right of the screen to restart Chrome and apply the changes. 

Can I disable all Chrome Flags? 

Flags are experimental, so they can cause webpages not to render correctly. Fortunately, it's also simple to disable any previously set Chrome Flags, putting everything back to default. Here's how to reset any Chrome flags:

  1. Enter chrome://flags/ into the address bar 
  2. Hit Reset all in the top-right 
  3. Tap Relaunch to restart with all Flags back to their default value. 

Chrome Flags can add extra features to ChromeOS and Chrome browsers across Operating Systems. Now you know how to enable flags, you can customize Chrome to speed up your workflow. Remember, if you accidentally allow a Flag that causes issues, you can always roll back to the original default settings for each Flag. Get Flagging Now!

*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.

About Robert Stark: Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech. 



The opinions expressed on Acer Corner are the personal opinions of the authors, not of Acer. By using this site, you accept Acer's Privacy Policy and the Acer Corner User Agreement.

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